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Located to the south of Tuléar, Anakao is a Vezo fishing village that has colourful fishing boats that have been drawn up onto the sand, bustling with life and activity.

The beach here is isolated and pretty, with fine white sand and beautiful coral reefs just off the coast. A small nearby island, Nosy Ve, also has a wonderful beach and a breeding colony of red-tailed tropic birds which are fascinating to watch.

When snorkelling and diving here the beautiful and diverse marine environments around the coasts of Madagascar can be fully appreciated. There are plenty of places to dive and snorkel, including a shallow reef where groupers and conger eels can be seen. Between June and October you can dive with whales, which is a highlight for many.

There are plenty of places to explore on foot as well, with tombs which are fascinating to see, and somewhat unconventional; one of note has a satellite dish to provide entertainment for the occupants!

On a small peninsula jutting out from the sea the eggshells of the giant elephant birds can be seen – these have been extinct for hundreds of years and the leftover shells are an extraordinary sight.

Wildlife can be seen further south, with tortoises, geckos, chameleons and other lizards common in the trees. Here there are also large mangroves and peaceful beaches which are likely to be left on their own for weeks on end.

The island of Nosy Ve, which means ‘Is there an Island?’, is 3 km west of Anakao, and the largest attraction is the white, shell-strewn beach that has some wonderful diving and snorkelling sites off it. The breeding colony of red-tropic birds mentioned before fly overhead all year round and are an impressive sight that is worth seeing.

South of Ankao lies Lake Tsimanampetsotsa, a shallow soda lake which is renowned for waterfowl including flamingos, as well as rare endemic birds such as Madagascar plovers. The spiny forest around here is basically unspoilt, and there is an incredible banyan tree with roots that climb down a cliff for twenty metres to get to the soil which is an amazing sight. Other specialities of the park include the rare Grandidier’s mongoose, and a rare endemic species of blind fish, the Typhleotris madagascariensis, which can be seen from Mitoho Cave, a sacred site.

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